A & A Payment Received After Death of Claimant

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by dmccjdou, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. dmccjdou

    dmccjdou Newbie

    Hello,

    My father was recently approved for A&A benefits with payments to begin 4/1/16, but he died two days before his first deposit was made. He passed on 3/27/16 and his first deposit was made on 3/29/16 (I'm assuming the payment is for March 2016 benefits). From what I've seen online, since he died before the end of the month he isn't entitled to the benefit for that month. Is that correct? He was also due benefit payments back to 11/20/15, but those payments were on hold due to the fiduciary process. Prior to his passing, I sent a request to the VA asking for immediate payment of the retro due to financial hardship, but I haven't heard anything from them. I'm assuming the retro pay isn't going to be paid now that he has passed, but was wondering if the payment they just made will have to be returned. I haven't informed the VA yet of his passing. Thank you.
     
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    dmccjdou,

    I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing and I know this is a difficult time for you and your family.

    You do need to inform the VA of your father's passing. If the applicant (your father) passes during the application process prior to funds being released, the son/daughter or other family member (you) who was helping in the application process is entitled to file against those accrued benefits for expenses associated with the "Last Illness." This is not limited to just the out of pocket expenses incurred for final arrangements not covered by pre-existing arrangements or policies, nor is it for the last ambulance ride.

    Use Form 21-601 Application for Accrued Amounts due a Deceased Beneficiary. It is recommended to include a certified copy of your birth certificate indicating you are a legal heir. You will also need to list all siblings who may also be entitled to file.

    My guess is, with that timeline of when the benefit was awarded and when he passed away, that you are correct in thinking he was not entitled to the benefits he received on 3/29/16 because he did not live through the entire month. Not in the VA's eyes. It is sad, but it is how they handle matters. The money is owed back, and generally you can get an address as to where to send it to. Most people just hold the money in the account and don't spend it. It might take the VA 60-90 days to process a request for the money to be returned, and at that point you can do so. If you don't hear anything back within 60 days, I would contact them again to let them know you need to find out where to return the money.

    Whatever retroactive funds your father was owed, any expense you paid on his behalf while waiting on this award, any deposit to an assisted living facility/nursing home, any shortages you paid each month including final arrangements. Anything you paid from the date of application can be claimed against the accrued amount of your father's retroactive funds. Make sure to have clear documentation of these expenses. Bank statements and such.
     
  3. dmccjdou

    dmccjdou Newbie

    Thank you for your reply. I intend to inform the VA today or Monday... I just haven't wanted to deal with it yet. The VA should prorate the benefit amount when a veteran passes away and allow the family to retain the funds earned through the date of death. It’s just so frustrating. But, the entire process of applying for benefits and waiting has been frustrating on so many levels. To finally be approved and then learn he isn’t eligible for his first month of benefits, not to mention his retroactive pay, is very disappointing to say the least. I will file form 21-601 and wait to see what happens (wait being the operative word). I appreciate your help.
     
  4. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    dmccjdou,

    I understand it can be frustrating. It really is not fair to the veterans or their families. There are many things in this benefits system that need to be changed for the better. I hope you can retain some funds using the 21-601.
     
  5. ksmith

    ksmith Newbie

    Death before Approval

    Hi,
    Can someone please advise me...my Dad (a veteran) and my Mom were previously approved and receiving Aid and Attendance (2120/mo). My Dad died (7/29/2015), so had to start over with my Mom. VA put a hold on last direct deposit (still pending). My Mom passed away on 3/12/2016. My question is will I still be able to recover any money she was due from Aug 1, 2016 till her death. I have been paying the difference owed each month to assisted living facility while waiting on Moms approval. I had an attorney tell me the only thing I can get is reimbursement for funeral cost if I can prove I paid it. Thanks.
     
  6. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    ksmith,

    I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I can understand this is a difficult and trying time for you and your family.

    You do need to inform the VA of your mother's passing if you have not already done so. If the applicant (your mother) passes during the application process prior to funds being released, the son/daughter or other family member (you) who was helping in the application process is entitled to file against those accrued benefits for expenses associated with the "Last Illness." This is not limited to just the out of pocket expenses incurred for final arrangements not covered by pre-existing arrangements or policies, nor is it for the last ambulance ride.

    Use Form 21-601 Application for Accrued Amounts due a Deceased Beneficiary. It is recommended to include a certified copy of your birth certificate indicating you are a legal heir. You will also need to list all siblings who may also be entitled to file.

    Whatever retroactive funds your mother was owed, any expense you paid on her behalf while waiting on this award, any deposit to an assisted living facility/nursing home, any shortages you paid each month including final arrangements. Anything you paid from the date of application can be claimed against the accrued amount of your mother's retroactive funds. Make sure to have clear documentation of these expenses. Bank statements and such.

    I hope that helps.
     
  7. ksmith

    ksmith Newbie

    Thank you for replying. Just so I am fully understanding, the attorney told me "the VA rules on pending claims as follows: if a veteran dies during the pendency of a claim, the benefits accrue to the surviving spouse. If a surviving spouse dies during the pendency of a claim, the claim dies. After my Dad died my Mom's claim became a "new" claim for spousal benefits. Since it has not been decided yet, they will just stop processing it once I provide them a death certificate. Then she said if I paid any funeral expenses that came out of my pocket I could file a claim for that. I have called the VA and the girl told me to file form 21-0847 Request for Substitution of Claimant Upon Death of Claimant. So I am totally confused and afraid that I am not going to be able to get the money back I paid out of pocket (over $10,000). thanks for your help!
     
  8. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    ksmith,

    You can still use the form 21-601 for your mother, even though she was the surviving spouse. It's for either the surviving spouse or the veteran that you would use this form.

    From my understanding of the Substitution of Claimant upon Death of Claimant form, it would be used if you wanted the VA to use your father's retroactive payments due to him (him and his wife together) as the money they consider for the last expenses you paid for your mother. Since the VA still owed your mother retroactive funds from when you started over with your new application of her as a surviving spouse, you could use this money owed to her (with the 21-601) to file for any last expenses. I think using the 21-601 would work just fine. To be safe, it might be smart to speak with a VA professional again and explain the two forms you're wanting to use, your story of your parents, and ask them which is the appropriate form.

    I would use the 21-601 but we rarely get questions about the 21-0847 so I do not want to assume and be wrong. I hope that makes sense.

    You're welcome!
     
  9. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    ksmith,

    If you have receipts for all the expenses you paid on your Mom's behalf, you can indeed file a 21-601 and be reimbursed from any accrued monies that had not been paid to her, but you will need clear accounting showing that you personally paid those expenses to include the short fall to the ALF, final arrangements etc.

    If her unpaid monies are less than the total expenses you paid, you will only be able to recover up to the amount she was owed. The VA isn't going to pay more than what your Mom would have been entitled to.
     
  10. ksmith

    ksmith Newbie

    Thanks so much for the information. So now that I have notified them, do I wait to hear from them in the approval before I fill out the 601 form?
     
  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    ksmith,

    You don't need to wait. You can go on and make the application on the 21-601.

    One thing to note is that the VA does not generally process these very quickly. You have one year from the date to death to make the application against accrued benefits.
     
  12. ksmith

    ksmith Newbie

    One more question. I have been reading some of the posts, and want to make sure that I am understanding correctly. Did my Mom (spouse) of vet (my Dad) have to have already been approved to file 21-601? She had not been approved as a spouse claim when she died, we were just getting the "we are processing" form letters. Some of the information makes it sound like you had to have been approved and just waiting on the funds. It just seems so unfair that she was approved with my Dad and getting funds and hers just stops at his death! Thanks so much!
     
  13. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    ksmith,

    Since she was already approved with your father when he passed away, I would say she "should" be approved for the money you qualify for using the 21-601. I agree, it's not fair that if the veteran passes away, the surviving spouse has to create a new application. I would say, it couldn't hurt! You need to try.
     
  14. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    ksmith,

    If there was an application of file with the VA that would have been approved, then yes, you can still file for reimbursement.

    If the VA were to deny your claim, then they would have to proved why her application would not have been approved. It might get messy given the endless tricks the VA can pull, but again, as long as you had sent in a completed application for her, you are good to go.
     
  15. dmccjdou

    dmccjdou Newbie

     
  16. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    No, that is not an acceptable amount of time! If you're applying for the A&A benefit, it should take one year maximum. And even that is a long time. I would call the VA and get to the bottom of this date they have given you.
     
  17. dmccjdou

    dmccjdou Newbie

    My claim was for the retro accrued benefits for my father's A&A benefits. He was approved for A&A, but passed away prior to receiving any benefits. So, I sent in form 201-601 for the retro benefits for my out of pocket funeral expenses. Thank you
     
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  18. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    I would suggest you call them. And keep calling until you get some sort of answer for your accrued benefits for your father.
     
  19. JoanB

    JoanB Newbie

    I would like to just confirm I understand correctly. My mother was receiving monthly a&a benefits; she had received her December 2017 benefit, around $1700. She died on 24 December 2017, so she is not entitled to the December funds and the entire amount for the month has to be paid back. Are the funds from the month she died viewed as retroactive funds? Can we file the Form 21-601 to claim back the funds to cover 24 days in December? Thank you.
     
    Kaylin likes this.
  20. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    As I understand it, yes, that is correct. She would not get the full December monthly A&A benefit amount. Were you still waiting on being paid the retroactive funds due to her after she was awarded the benefit? If so, use Form 21-601 Application for Accrued Amounts due a Deceased Beneficiary. It is recommended to include a certified copy of their birth certificate indicating they are a legal heir. They will also need to list all siblings who may also be entitled to file.

    Whatever amount of retroactive funds (accrued money) the applicant was owed before their death, up to that amount is what the son/daughter, etc. can claim on the 21-601 Application for Accrued Amounts due a Deceased Beneficiary.

    Any expense the son/daughter paid on the applicant's behalf while waiting on this award, any deposit to an assisted living facility/nursing home, any shortages they paid each month including final arrangements. Anything they paid from the date of the original application can be claimed against the accrued amount of the applicant's retroactive funds. Make sure to have clear documentation of these expenses. Bank statements and such.

    Here is the application for burial benefits as well:
    http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21P-530-ARE.pdf

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, but I hope this info helps.
     

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